You didn’t cause it.
You can’t change it.
You can only take care of yourself.

Kids in Control and Teens in Control are free education and support programs offered and created by BC Schizophrenia Society. They target children and youth (8-18 years) who have a family member with a mental illness (e.g., bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, major depression).

The programs are prevention-focused and aim to foster resilience. They provide children and youth with opportunities to practice healthy coping strategies, provide knowledge about mental illness and connect with peers who have similar experiences. A key goal of the group is to let the children and youth know that they are not the only ones experiencing these challenges.

Another primary goal is to increase knowledge and understanding of mental illness. When there is a clearer understanding of mental illness, children and youth are able to express more compassion for their parent or sibling. It also gives them the necessary language to talk about mental illness, which creates opportunities for them to articulate their needs, access resources and process their experiences. This all helps provide a greater sense of security for children and youth.

Facilitators use a variety of activities and games to educate and support each participant. Most importantly, children and youth decide which activities to take part in. This sends the message that they are able to be in control of some things, even if other aspects of their lives are not within their control.

The programs consist of eight sessions which run once or twice a week. Each session is approximately 2 hours. Sessions take place in a relaxed social setting. Groups are delivered by mental health workers with experience working with children and youth. Snacks are provided!

The programs accept participant referrals on a continuous basis throughout the year from a variety of sources, including health care professions, community agencies, and family members and caregivers. Youth (14+) are able to self-refer.

For more information about these programs, including when and where they are currently being offered and how to access them, or to make a referral, please contact:

Rachel Phillips
Manager, Kids/Teens in Control

Benefits for Children and Youth

Some benefits for children and youth include:

  • Opportunities to connect with others who share their unique situation and have support
  • The ability to have a better understanding of mental illness to comprehend what they are dealing with
  • Dispelling misinformation and providing ways to deal with stigma around mental illness
  • Reducing anxiety and relieving fears about the unknown
  • Providing ways to deal with their own isolation, anxiety, fears, and stress
  • Opportunities to develop and practice healthy coping strategies to deal with mental illness and the impact it has on their lives
  • Encouragement to know that their own needs and desires matter and are important
  • Learning that they are resilient and ways to recognize their means for future success

What Happens in a Kids In Control or Teens in Control Session?

Kids in Control Sessions:

  • Group Building and Storytelling
  • Learning to Identify Feelings
  • Learning About Healthy Boundaries and How to Communicate Feelings
  • Learning About Mental Illness
  • Learning About the Treatment of Mental Illness
  • Developing Resiliency
  • Societal Attitudes and Stigma
  • Self-Care and Self Esteem


Teens in Control Sessions:

  • Group Building
  • Social and Societal Attitudes About Mental Illness
  • Learning How to Identify Feelings and Defenses
  • Mental Illness Facts + The Three C’s
  • Coping and Self-Care
  • Attitude and Self-Esteem: Negative Self-Talk and the Power of Positive Thinking
  •  Communication: Skill Development, Boundary-Setting, and the Meaning of Words
  • Planning and Visioning


Kids in Control "Caring for You Video Series"

BC Schizophrenia Society will be launching its Kids in Control “Caring for You Video Series!”

In these unsettling times, children are faced with emotions and feelings that they are trying to figure out. And just like adults, they are having good days and bad.

When children and youth have a family member with mental illness, it’s easy to think that they are the cause behind their loved one’s illness or the moments when they are unwell. Children and youth often think that if they can change something they did, they would be able to control and change how their loved one is acting. The heart of the Kids in Control program reminds them that they did not cause the situation and they cannot change the situation. But there is one thing that is in their control – they can take care of themselves and their own feelings.

The Kids in Control “Caring for You Video Series” is designed to help children learn strategies to take care of themselves. Each video will highlight a different topic that is normally covered in a Kids in Control program and allow families to engage with each other in their own homes.

Children will learn about feelings, healthy ways to express them, and how to cope with strong feelings. They will gain a better understanding of mental illness and what it means when a loved one has a mental illness. They will also learn the skills to take care of themselves and will make crafts to remind them of the skills they’ve learned.

Subscribe to the BCSS YouTube channel or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram so you don’t miss a video!

Kids in Control “Caring for You” Video Series Supporting Materials

List of Videos

"Understanding Mental Illness In Your Family" Booklets for Children

These booklets are designed for young people (children aged 8 – 12+) who have a family member with mental illness, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, severe depression, etc.

We encourage young people to read these with their family.

These booklets will help children understand more about mental illness and learn that it is not their fault nor their family member’s fault.

To view a PDF of the booklet, please click on the cover of the booklet you’d like to view.


If you’re interested in receiving copies of these booklets or would like to use these for educational purposes, please email

Please also feel free to contact us if you have questions or concerns about the content.

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